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Care and Feeding of a 
Healthy Job Hunt 

@vmbrasseur 




VM 

(aka Vicky) 
Brasseur 




Twitter: @vmbrasseur 
Freenode IRC: vmbrasseur 
fossetcon@vmbrasseur.com 



Someone once told me Dug the Dog is my Patronus, so here he is. :) 

I’m a software technology manager/executive. I’ve been doing this hiring thing for ~10 years. More importantly, for many years I did a lot of career coaching on a freelance basis. What you’re going to learn 
here is a lot of stuff I tell my clients. 





In all my years of management and coaching I’ve come to know just how much the job hunting process sucks. Job postings are vague and unrealistic. Communication is poor on a good day. Timelines are 
nebulous or non-existent. Interviewers have no clue how to perform that task. 



UNICORNS 

ARE AWESOME 




I AM AWESOME 



THEREFORE I AM A 

UNICORN 



@vmbrasseur 



Most of these things are out of your control, but I’ll give you a whole stack full of tips to make the job hunt process more tolerable and to help you get the sort of attention you want. 



Dona Nobis Pacem 

(Translation: Give Us Peace) 

Prunoi»ccd Don-na No-becce Pih<hem Traditional 




Do • iu no - bt» pa • ccm pa -ccm Do • na no • bix pa • can 







@vmbrasseur 



Before we get started in earnest, a few notes: 




There is a LOT of ground to cover here, so a lot of what I’m going to discuss will be only scraping the topsoil of what there is to say. 




What We’ll Cover 



• Job Postings 

• Resumes 

• Cover Letters 

• Applying 

• (break) 

• Interviewing 

• Negotiating 

• Organizing 

@vmbrasseur 



Each section will have Q&A, but there’ll also be a more general Q&A at the end of the session. 



What We WONT Cover 



• Career planning 

• Career development 



@vmbrasseur 



These are very important, but there’s just not enough time to cover them here. If you’d like to talk about them, please grab me later and we can chat. 




Please set all of your devices to silent. 




YMMV 




Please save all questions for the end of each section. There will also be time at the end for more questions. 





So, let’s get started by talking about Job Postings. 



Job Postings 



@vmbrasseur 



What to expect 



@vmbrasseur 



First of all, let’s set the stage. What should you expect from job postings? Not the ideal situation, but the REAL situation? When you start scouting around for your next job, what will the postings be like out 
there? 




Unfortunately, you’re going to find that these things usually (but not always) suck. You read them then look a little like this. 



IN 



we specialize 

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@vmbrasseur 



You may find that a posting has incredibly vague requirements. Or even just flat out impossible, such as “Five Years Experience with Docker. 




Others may have very specific but excessive requirements, as though a recruiter just made a shotgun blast of keywords all over the page. 




The problem is, most companies don’t really think these things through all the way. Rather than treating hiring like what it is— another project requiring planning and thought— they just copy and paste 
something which they wrote before. 




Or, even worse, the recruiter will ask the hiring manager what sort of skills they need in the next hire and rather than consider actual problems the team or will be facing, they enter the La La land of “what-ifs” 
and end up listing every possible skill under the sun. This can make a job posting look intimidating and out of reach. 



PLANNING 
IS NOT 
OPTIONAL 



Unfortunately, this means that the job postings which make it out into the wild often don’t reflect the actual needs of the team. Because no one has really or fully thought through those needs, let alone 
expressed them in a way which is meaningful to candidates 



sjou can do it/ 




motivational pencjuin 

@vmbrasseur 



Therefore, when looking at just about any posting, please start from a mental place of “These are not requirements. These are, at best, Nice To Haves.” When viewed in this light, you’ll find that postings may 
become more approachable and less intimidating. 



YOU ARE 
GOOD 
ENOUGH. 
BELIEVE IT. 

@vmbrasseur 

SO! What this means is that if you see a job which is of interest to you and which is in your wheelhouse, you should apply for it even if you don’t meet all of the requirements. Just do it. You can’t win a race 
you don’t even run. 




As well: Deciding whether or not you’re a fit for the job is NOT YOUR PROBLEM. It’s the problem of the team and the hiring manager. Don’t strip them of the opportunity to make a decision just because you 
suspect you might not be a fit for the job. Apply and allow them to decide. 






Where to look for job 

postings 



@vmbrasseur 



So, now that we’re all on the same page in recognizing that most job postings are vague and unrealistic, where should you look for them? 



The Usual Suspects 



@vmbrasseur 



Well, for starters there are all of the usual suspects 



Indeed 

one search all jots. 



Monster 



indeed.com , craigslist, monster.com , stack overflow careers, linkedin 



CD 

craigslist 



ill CAREERS 2.0 

by stock overflow 



©vmbrasseur 




code4lib 



adTech 



Government 



etc. 



As well, there are job boards for your specialized area of interest 



opensource.org 



Chronicle of Higher 
Education 



Healthcare 



@vmbrasseur 



Less Usual Suspects 



@vmbrasseur 



There are less obvious places to look. These require more work but often can produce better results. 



Dropbox 

n 

EVERNOTE 

n\? 




remember 
the milk 



S Trelitr 




@vmbrasseur 



Look at the products and services you use and/or appreciate. Go to the careers pages for those companies to see whether they have anything open for you. 





O’REILLY 




oscon 

OPEN SOURCE CONVENTION 




0LINUXCON 



©vmbrasseur 



Look at the sponsor pages of the conferences you attend. These are companies who believe in and support something you value and therefore might be good places for you to work. Check out their career 
pages. 





O’REILLY 




oscon 

OPEN SOURCE CONVENTION 




0LINUXCON 



©vmbrasseur 



Then there are the conferences themselves. A lot of companies send recruiters and representatives to conferences. Take a few minutes to chat with them and maybe give them your contact information. 
Those few minutes could pay off big for everyone involved. 






TechCrunch 



open 

source 

.com 



Inc. 




Harvard 

Business 

Review 



@vmbrasseur 



Do you read any industry news sites? When companies are mentioned in interesting or favorable ways, wander over to their websites to check out their jobs pages. 





/^creative 

^commons 




software freedom 

conservancy 

(ft) 

open source 
initiative 



i- ARCHIVE 




DP LA 



@vmbrasseur 



Do you support any non-profits or other organizations? Which companies sponsor or support them? Maybe they have positions open. You won’t know if you don’t look. 





09 

THANK YOU 
FORYOURSUPPORT 

@vmbrasseur 



By doing these things you’re not only finding companies which may have similar beliefs and values to yours, you’re also rewarding those companies for their support of those beliefs and values, thereby 
helping to ensure that they are more likely to continue that support in the future. 



Networking 



@vmbrasseur 



And then there’s the best and most effective way of all for finding a new job: Networking. 




The introverts in the audience probably just turned a very alarming shade of white at the thought of having to interact in order to find a job, but it’s not necessarily as bad as you think it will be. 




That’s because Networking includes and relies upon Social Networking. Thanks to social networking, you can sit in the comfort of your own home, pub, or coffee shop and communicate with people who can 
help you find your next job. 




When someone says stuff you like, either in an article, on Twitter, or in person, follow them on the social network of their choice. Interact with them in a respectful and professional manner. 




Conferences! An amazing place to meet people who share your interests. 





"The recruiter on line three wants 
to know if you still hate your job." 



Another option is recruiters. Not all of them are spammers who perform poor keyword searches before emailing thousands of unqualified candidates. There are plenty who have a legitimate desire to place the 
right person with the right company and see everyone happy at the end. Ask your network if they know of any such recruiters and whether they’d introduce you to them. 



ARE YOU NUTSP 





K 

e 1 millin ' m 



@vmbrasseur 



I HAVE FOUND'MY 
PEOPLE! . 

seur memefrBneratoi net 



. 



Other valuable sources of leads are former coworkers, friends, and family. When you think you’re going to start looking, let your network know and often they’ll send you some of the best leads and make the 
most valuable introductions. 



Job Postings: 
Questions & Discussion 




Resumes 



@vmbrasseur 



K, that’s the 50,000 foot view of job postings. Now let’s do a fly-over of resumes. What to do. What not to do. Actually, let’s start there. 



What NOT to include 



@vmbrasseur 



I’ve looked at hundreds— if not thousands— of resumes in my life so far. In general, these things can be pretty flexible. That said, there are still some things which you should never, 
ever, ever do on your resume. 



Andrea Smith. b.Sc 



45 10th St., Apt. 5 Ne 



OBJECTIVE 




To seek a high-level position utilizing my eight years of experienc 
business operations for high-growth companies and creating top- 
and bottom-line profitability. 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE 



INDEPENDENT BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT | NBC CC 

2010 - Present | New York, NY 

• Exceed sales quotas by 50 percent each month. 

• Developing 25 to 50 new accounts by analyzing organization and busin 
package to meet those goals 



A AAA * 



@vmbrasseur 



Objective. Let’s just cut to the chase here: No one cares. I’m not hiring so I can enhance your career. I’m hiring because I have a problem to solve and need someone to solve it. During the hiring process, I do 
not care what your career objectives are. I’ll worry about that after I hire you when I’m your manager & responsible for helping you develop your skills and career. Right now, though: I DO NOT CARE. 




@vmbrasseur 



“References Available Upon Request.” Huh. Other statements equally as useful on your resume: “The sky is blue.” and “Water is wet.” We all know that you’ll send us references if we ask for them. Do not 
waste space by telling us the obvious. 



123 Some St. 
Cell Phone: 


Jane A. Doe 

.M«kh«m. A Z 87432 • Phone 123-555*1234 
123-555*4321 ,E trail: j«rw doelirr»'Lt2iD 




:unt 12, 2009 

References: 

Jerome Kessirger 
Assistant Director 
Illinois Leadership Center 
University of Illinois 
901 West Illinois Street 
Champa»gn f It 61801 
(217J-333-0302 






Linda Allen, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor 
Institute for Genomic Biology 
University of Illinois 
901 West Illinois Street 
Champaign, 2L 61801 
(2l7)-333-0304 






Hark Towns end 
Executive Finance Director 
JP Morgan 

201 W. University Avenue 
Champa»gn, IL 61801 
(2l7)-333-4289 




@vmbrasseur 



References. Also don’t waste space by telling me something I may not need to know, such as the contact information of your references. Not only is this presumptuous, it’s also disrespectful to the privacy of 
your references. Beyond that, you should always contact your references before sending their info out. Not only can you ask for their permission this way, but you can also prime them with information which 
will make their reference more effective. 



Ha ha ha ha he 
ha ha ha ha / 
ha ha ha ha ha 




@vmbrasseur 



Photo. In some countries/cultures it’s normal to include a photo on your CV. NEVER DO THIS IN THE USA UNLESS YOU ARE IN THEATRE, MODELING, ETC. If you send me a resume with a photo on it, 
you’ve just put me, the hiring manager, at risk of a discrimination lawsuit if you’re not hired. As well, some hiring managers are asshats who WILL be influenced by your photo. Don’t give them that 
opportunity. Don’t include your photo on your resume. 



This is my 

hobby 

@vmbrasseur 



Anything not having to do with your work/professional life. This includes hobbies, non-work affiliations or clubs, and especially not anything related to religious or political views. Do not give people an excuse 
to exercise bias against you. Do not put hiring managers at risk of discrimination lawsuits. Do not mix work and non-work. Period, dot, end. 




@vmbrasseur 



\\o! 



JOHN DOE 

WEB & GRAPHIC DESIGNER 



-> ABOUT ME 



• 99 9 * 99 . < IT — I 




OBJECTIVE 



W 9T9~ fNH I 



-> EDUCATION 



ktatl^MlIranct 





-> SKILLS 



EXPERCNCE 




Fancy design. Save it for your portfolio, people. This document is going to have three primary audiences: HR/screener/recruiter, Hiring manager/team, and the all-important but often forgotten AUTOMATIC 
DOCUMENT PARSER. A fancy design and/or images means that parser can’t, uh, parse. This lowers the visibility on your resume in the application process. Improve the resume-version of SEO by keeping 
the document to text-only, no-image based stuff at all. 



Ishihara Test For Color Blindness 




Also, please stick to only black and white as much as possible. A colorful resume foolishly assumes and discriminates against the color blind readers in your audience. 



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tru ‘thinness Ytrtl-thc-nosX n 

1 : truth that comes from the 
gut, not books (Stephen 
Colbert, Comeay Central ’s 
“ The Colbert Report, ” 

October 2005) 

2 : the quality of preferring 
concepts or tacts one wishes 
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be true (American Dialect 
Society, January 2006) 

Truthiness 

uth serum n (1924) : a hypnotic or ancstb*- ‘-'duce a subi^* 

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@vmbrasseur 



One final thing to avoid, and it’s something which shouldn’t need to be mentioned yet I will say anyway: NEVER include lies or “flexible” truths. You should always be honest. Or at least technically honest, 
which as we all know is the best sort of honest. Be truthful, but there is no need to disclose things which will reflect negatively on you. 



What TO include 



@vmbrasseur 



K, now that we have the “must-nots” out of the way, what SHOULD you try to include on your resume? 



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32 treinta y dos 


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13 trece 


23 veintitrbs 


33 treinta y tres 


4 cuatro 


14 catorce 


24 veinticuatro 


34 treinta y cuatro 


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15 quince 


25 veinticinco 


3S treinta y cinco 


6 sets 


10 diecisbis 


20 veintisbis 


30 treinta y sets 


7 siete 


17 diecisiete 


27 veintisiete 


37 treinta y siete 


8 ocho 


18 dieciocho 


28 veintiocho 


38 treinta y ocho 


8 nueve 


19 diecinueve 


29 veintmueve 


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_ 





Numbers numbers numbers. As a hiring manager, few things turn my head like numbers. Not only are they quick & easy to notice & understand, you having numbers shows me that you care enough to take 
metrics & to work to them. So, what kind of numbers should you include? 




What difference have you made in your positions? Savings/sales resulting from your work. Size of network maintained. Pages of documentation written. Hits/visitors per day. Percent increase in performance. 
Uptime. Etc. Anything which can show the positive difference you made is great. 





Results. Even if you can’t provide numbers, you should always include results of your efforts. “I did this” is important, but “And it made this difference” is more so. Examples are things like projects completed 
on time/budget, successful leadership opportunities, and growth achieved for yourself & the organization. 




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This Ruuard is Presented to: 



for Oufsfanding Achievement in: 



signed 



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@vmbrasseur J 

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Professional affiliations, awards, & accreditations should always be listed somewhere on the document. These must be PROFESSIONAL. While interesting, your certification as a cicerone is NOT relevant 
unless you are applying for a job at a brewery or bar. 




J 

/ 




@vmbrasseur 



Everyone’s going to Google you, so make their lives easier and control the story. Include professionally-relevant links to things like your portfolio, Github, Blog, website, Linkedin profile, etc. Again, only 
include links which are professional in nature. For instance: my public Twitter account (but not my protected one). 






List of technologies/compentencies. Again, think SEO. Make it easy to skim. Reorganize the list to order by the technologies most important to the organization to which you’re applying. Some folks include 
level of competency w/each technology but I’ve seen that backfire. General rule: Provide the information you need to, not what you don’t need to. 




Formatting 



@vmbrasseur 



A large percentage of the questions I get about resumes/CVs is about the “right” way to format them. Despite what all the books & blog posts tell you, there’s no one “right” way to do this. That said, there are 
some guidelines to consider. 



keep it simple. 



@vmbrasseur 



First, remember what I said about the various audiences. That automatic document parser can’t understand documents with a lot of images or odd typefaces. Keep it simple. Keep it functional. 




But beyond that? TIMTOWTDI. 



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@vmbrasseur 



Chronological: List your jobs by most recent first. 



FUNCTIONAL CV EXAMPLE 



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@vmbrasseur 



Functional: Organize your experience & skills by functional area. Management, leadership, operations, performance, security, etc. 



Hybrid of the two: List jobs by reverse chronological, but skills by functional. Or whatever order makes the most sense for the job and the audience. 




Whatever resume organization you choose: MAKE IT EASY TO READ/SKIM. Real talk: When I’m hiring, you’re VERY lucky if I’m able to devote 30 seconds to the first pass on your resume. If you don’t format 
it so it’s easy for me to see the information relevant to the position I’m looking to fill, I may just pass on your application. 






@vmbrasseur 




CLASSIC" 

DESIGN 




JIM LEE 
REDESIGN 




2011 
TV SHOW 



You don’t have to become attached to a single resume format. Feel free to use several. Have multiple versions of your resume. 




And I don’t just mean in format. I also mean in content. I recommend you keep at least three different types of resume on hand at all times... 





I recommend you have a looooong version which lists everything you’ve ever done. This version will be shared rarely, but will act a the source for information for other, more-targeted versions of the 
document. 




Then have a general resume. Something which isn’t targeted, but which does a good job of showing your experience & talents. This is the document which you’ll post on your website/blog/portfolio/etc. If it’s 
publicly posted, you may wish to remove your address and phone number from this version of your resume. 




And then you’ll (ideally) have a different version of your resume for each position for which you actively apply. This doesn’t always happen, but it can be a very good idea in many cases. 




So I mentioned that big, long, comprehensive resume. Just how does that happen, anyway? Do you wait until you’re looking for a job and then wrack your brain for information to fill in the document? 




ABSOLUTELY NOT. Most human brains can’t retain or recall detailed information for that long. COGNITIVE BURDEN. Don’t save updating your resume until the moment you need it. Instead: 





Use your task-tracking system of choice to remind you to revisit & revise your resume every month. Done something interesting in the past month? Write it down now before you forget it. Update the long 
version of your resume monthly, then when you need to craft a targeted resume you’ll have all the info you need at your fingertips. 




Multiple versions of your resume. Updating frequently. OMG, such a burden to keep track of all this stuff, right? 



@vmbrasseur 



ABSOLUTELY NOT. For the love of dog, you’re in technology! Get your resumes into a version control system, for crying out loud! That way it’s always there when you need it, you can track the different 
versions & changes you’ve made, and you never again have to rewrite it from scratch because you lost the file. 



PRIVATE 



@vmbrasseur 



BUT: If you’re going to do this, I recommend you put it in a private repo. Most people don’t want to get unsolicited pull requests on their own resume. 




Resumes: 

Questions & Discussion 




Cover Letters 



@vmbrasseur 



Cover letters are a surprisingly controversial subject among hiring managers and interviewers. Some find them to be a waste of time and won’t look at them. Other people love them and require them. I am in 
this camp and let me tell you why. 




Your resume shows me what you’ve done and what you know. Your cover letter shows me who you ARE. I dunno about other managers, but I’m not hiring resumes. I’m hiring people. Therefore I require 
cover letter so I can get some sense of who you are as a human being. 



WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME? 




That’s one purpose of a cover letter. Another is to give you the opportunity to tell me why I should pay attention to your application. I have problems, else I wouldn’t be hiring. What are YOU going to do to 
improve my life & the lives of my team members? The cover letter gives you the chance to explain this. 



Preparation. Before you start crafting a cover letter, do some research: The name of the company, the company’s mission, a list of the staff who work there, knowledge of the product(s) they provide, the goals 
of the product and the company, any problems they seem to be having, any achievements they may have had recently. 




You’ll need to do some web spelunking to gather some of this. Check the company website, blogs, Crunchbase, Linkedin, Twitter, news articles, Glassdoor, etc. Pretty much just hit up Google & become 
informed about the organization. 




; THE GREETING j 

BODY OF 

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! THE LETTER I 

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\ 9 

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! THE CLOSING 1 
! & SIGNATURE ! 

@vmbrasseur 



A quick word about the format of your cover letter: THIS IS A LETTER. Please format it as such. Salutation, body, complimentary close. 



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@vmbrasseur 



As well, often online application systems only give you a text area for entering your cover letter. Therefore please keep it to plain ASCII text without any formatting. Don’t use HTML, Markdown, etc. Be aware 
of the space vs tab problem. Note that lists, tables, links, etc. may not look the way you expect at the other end. Make the letter formatting basic, textual, and clear. 




One size 
does not fit all 






Ideally, each position for which you apply will get its own, unique cover letter. As a hiring manager, I can tell when you’re doing pump-n-dump & using the same letter everywhere. That said: if you’re applying 
to many places customizing letters can become a big burden. Therefore it’s OK if you use a template then edit/customize it for that job. 



Hello 

my name is 



<FIRST_NAME> 




One thing you should always do is customize the salutation. Studies show an increase in marketing email response rates when the salutation is personalized. Your cover letter is essentially a marketing email. 
Do some research & discover the name of the hiring manager. Not only does this appeal to the reader, it also shows that you put in effort for the position already. You care about it. 



Sometimes the job posting will tell you this, but usually not. Therefore: Company website, Linkedin, Crunchbase, Google. Can’t find it? Use nearest grandboss. If nothing else, see whether the company 
employees have a cute name for themselves, like “Googlers” or “Mozillians.” 




The style of the letter can range from formal to casual. Please gauge your audience and use the style which is most appropriate. For instance: if it’s a big corporation or a law firm, a more formal letter is in 
order. Early startup? Casual may be better. When in doubt: default to more formal. Never pass on an opportunity to be respectful. 



ALWAYS BE YOURSELF. 

Unless you can be a unicorn. 
Then always be a unicorn. 




@vmbrasseur 



Regardless of the level of formality, use your natural writing voice when composing the letter. Don’t put on airs. Be yourself. Be respectful. Be honest. 



Get someone to read/edit it. Preferably someone with a well-honed sense of grammar and spelling. 




When constructing the content of your letter, please remember: It’s not about you. It’s about what YOU can do for THEM. Do not regurgitate your resume. Instead, tell the reader how you can help them. 
They’re hiring because they have problems to solve. How will you make a difference in that? 




The cover letter is also a place to anticipate and answer any questions which may come up. Live in Philly but applying for a job in LA? Mention whether you’re looking to relocate. Took a year off? Mention 
that you were taking care of an ailing family member. No details are necessary beyond that. Just anticipate the question, address it briefly, and move on. 



©vmbrasseur 



If you were referred to the position by someone at the company or who knows the hiring manager, mention that in the cover letter. “I heard about this opening from Sfriend who’s worked at the company for 
$time and loves it there.” 



/t\ 





c kooK 



I, L* 



> 




@vmbrasseur 



The closing sentence/paragraph of your letter should be a firm statement of wishing to speak with the reader. Don’t be ambivalent. Let them know you want THIS job, not ANY job. For instance, “I’m looking 
forward to speaking with you soon to learn how I can make a difference to the company and the team.” 




Cover Letters: 
Questions & Discussion 




Applying for a job 



@vmbrasseur 



Moving right along, I have just a few quick tips about the application process itself. 



you > /dev/null 



@vmbrasseur 



First of all: Aside from maybe an automated email when you submit your application, odds are very good you’re never going to hear from that company again. Some studies show that up to 75% of the apps 
you submit will end up in /dev/null. You’ll never hear back from them one way or the other. 




This is incredibly disrespectful behavior on the part of hiring companies. Let me stress that last part: IT IS NOT YOU, IT IS THEM. If you don’t hear back from a company at all, it’s not that you’re no good. It’s 
that they fail at respect and communication. IT IS NOT YOU, IT IS THEM. 






JUST CHECKING IN TO SEE HOW YOU 



@vmbrasseur 



WERE DOING. legenera , or . net 



You’ll find that the majority of companies now use online application and applicant tracking software. What this sometimes means is that you’ll get a URL where you can check the status of your application. 
Please don’t lose this URL. Some companies believe that providing it means they don’t have to communicate with you, so it may be the only way you can learn whether you’re still being considered for a job. 



DANGER 




DO NOT 
LOOK INTO 
LASER WITH 
REMAINING 




u 



@vmbrasseur 



ALWAYS FOLLOW APPLICATION DIRECTIONS. Do not get clever and go outside of the process. Follow the process and THEN get clever, by reaching out to people inside the company to get them to boost 
the signal of your app. If you don’t follow the process, then I as I hiring manager see you as someone who can’t follow directions. Why would I hire someone like that? 





I sometimes get asked about when & how often you should follow up on an application. In our industry, the answer is “usually never, unless you get asked for an interview” If you get that URL, check it. If 
someone at the company asked you to apply, ping them once. Otherwise: don’t follow up. 



Applications: 
Questions & Discussion 





Intermission 



@vmbrasseur 




Interviewing 



@vmbrasseur 



Interviewing. There are different types of interviews. Phone screens, technical, onsite, etc. There are some tips which apply to all of these types. 




#1 : Research research research. The company, the industry, the product, the people, news about all of the above. Research the typical salary for that role in the geographic area where it’s based. Be prepared 
with and review this information before any interview. 







MAYBE IF I WEAR THIS SHIRT 



NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO TELL l‘M SPIDERMAN 



©vmbrasseur 



#2: Dress comfortably but professionally. Yes, even for phone interviews, as it can do wonders for your confidence level. The level of formality will vary by company/industry/context. In tech, there’s typically 
no need to put on a suit. Regardless, only wear things that fit well & make you feel good. Else you’ll be physically uncomfortable & fidgety in the interview. It should be neat & tidy and you should have a put- 
together look. 




#3: Prepare questions. For the love of dog, please do this. When the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” the answer had better always be “YES.” Have at least 5 questions prepared 
advance, but more is OK. Just don’t expect you’ll have time to get them all answered. 








I MUSTACHE YOU 

A QUESTION 



©vmbrasseur 



#4: ASK questions. Don’t understand something? Ask. Curious about something? Ask. Be engaged. You’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. This is a dialogue. A two-way conversation. 




#5: DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY, “I don’t know.” No one knows everything. Don’t worry. But, if you do say “I don’t know,” please follow it up immediately with “...but here’s how I would find out the answer. 



#6: BE ON TIME. Your interviewer is likely to be a few minutes late, but YOU WILL NOT. Be on time where “on time” means ~5min early. Even if that means getting to the building 30min early and sitting in 
your car, BE ON TIME. 




#7: TAKE NOTES. During and/or after each interview, take notes about to whom you spoke, what was asked/answered, etc. These notes are going to come in very handy later on in the process, so please 
don’t skip this. Not even if you think you have an amazing memory. 




Phone Screen 



@vmbrasseur 



Now for some more specific tips, starting with the Phone Screen. This is typically conducted by HR or a recruiter. The primary purpose of it is basically to see whether you meet even the lowest bar for the 
position, such as: Are you a nice person? Can you communicate? Basic stuff like that. 




Some of the common questions you’ll hear during a phone screen: “Are you willing to relocate?”, “Why are you leaving your current position?”, “What do you know about our company? 
current or expected salary?” 



What is your 




WHOA THERE 





DO NOT TELL THEM YOUR CURRENT SALARY. Just don’t. It does not matter here. Entirely DOES NOT MATTER. Plus it’s none of their damn business. 



But, you can’t very well refuse to answer the question at all. They DO need to know whether you’re out of their budget. Salary requirements are a valid question. 




Here’s where your salary research pays off, because now you can say, “According to my research, this role can pay anywhere from $X to $Y, so I expect that the salary would fall somewhere in that range. 
BOOM: Question answered AND you’ve maintained the privacy of your financial information. 




• indeed.com 

• salary.com 

• payscale.com 

• glassdoor.com 



But where do you find that information? 




Phone Interview 



@vmbrasseur 



A phone interview is a more advanced version of the phone screen. If you get past the screen, often a phone interview is the next step. Often, this interview is conducted by the hiring manager. 




Sometimes a phone interview will be more technical in nature. Sometimes more conceptual. Regardless, this is where the real questions start coming up. So: 



Be Prepared! Review your research. Review your notes. Do MORE research. Review your resume and cover letter. Review the job posting. The more you know, the more prepared you are, the more relaxed 
you’ll be during the interview. You can pick up that phone with the feeling of, “No problem; I got this one.” 



Onsite Interview 



@vmbrasseur 



The onsite interview. Yup, shit just got real, my friends. Some companies will do multiple of these. Some only one. Some will be all day. Some just an hour. There’s a lot of variation, as you can see. But there 
are some tips which can help you no matter which variant you find. 




PLAN AHEAD. What’s the route to the office? What’s the backup route to the office if something goes wrong with Plan A? Have you trialed the route to the office? If you have time & if it’s possible, do that. 
Figure out where you’ll park & where the transit stops are & where you can grab a good drink afterward if needed. :-) 








I don't want to get up. 

@vmbrasseur 



LEAVE HOME EARLY. ARRIVE EARLY. Again: try not to be _too_ early. 5 minutes is good. 10 is OK. More than that is a big burden on those in the office. 





BE NICE TO EVERYONE. I don’t care if it’s the housekeeper or the VP of Sales. They all get treated with the same level of respect and kindness. I’ve actually had juniors from other departments meet 
candidates first, just so I can get their feedback on how the candidate treated them. If you disrespect anyone in the office, the hiring manager WILL find out. 








BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU EAT/DRINK. DO eat beforehand. Hunger is distracting. Don’t go overboard, but some good, high-protein food is a good idea. If there’s a meal/drink component to the interview, be 
selective about what you order. Nothing messy. Nothing risky (too spicy, for instance). Nothing high-alcohol. If coffee makes you hyper, get tea. You have a brain and hopefully good sense. Use it. 




SEND A THANK YOU EMAIL THE NEXT DAY. Do NOT send snailmail. That’s just creepy. No, just a quick, “Thank you for your time!” message is good. If you have follow-up questions, include them here. It 
not only shows them that you’re engaged, it also keeps THEM engaged. Always end the message with a statement that you’re interested in continuing the conversation. Few people do this, but believe it or 
not as hiring managers it’s something we wonder. “Did they like us as much as we liked them?” 



Interviews: 

Questions & Discussion 




Negotiating 



@vmbrasseur 



You’ve done the interviews. You’ve jumped through the hoops. You’ve received the offer. Now what? 




ALWAYS assume you’ll negotiate an offer. As a hiring manager, I fully expect it. I mean, I’m definitely going to give you a great offer. I’m not going to cheap out on you. But others aren’t as nice as I am. And 
even for those who are: We expect negotiation. We might not be able to give you more, but we’re prepared for you to ask. 




Keep in mind: You can negotiate for all sorts of things which aren’t salary. There’s bonus, and vacation time, and conference budget, and relocation, and hardware, and signing bonus, and even work from 
home time. But for now just assume I’m talking about negotiating salary in this section of the presentation. 




Also: While we expect you to negotiate, we do not like it when you’re being obviously greedy. Please negotiate, but do so in good faith. Remember: You’ll have to work with these people afterward. Don’t be 
greedy pig. Don’t be a jerk. The most effective negotiations are those which are win-win. 



@vmbrasseur 



So, remember all that salary research you did all those days, weeks, maybe months ago? Revisit and refresh it. Perhaps the title of the position has changed. Perhaps now that you know more about the 
duties, your original research is no longer valid. Update that to make sure you’re working with the most up to date and valid information. 




Only work from data, not from feelings. I don’t care if you feel you’re worth $30K more per year. If the research shows that most companies won’t pay that, your negotiation will likely fail if you ask for it. Your 
negotiation position will be stronger if you do so from a position of data. “My research shows that...” is a powerful and empowering statement. “I feel...” is powerful in different contexts & salary negotiations 
is not one of them. 




Beyond data, you also have to prove that you’re worth the higher salary for which you’re negotiating. Don’t just ask for more money. Tell them why you’re worth it. “Considering my experience in $skill[0-3], 
and that I’m already familiar with the domain, I bring a lot to the company and will be productive in no time.” 




@vmbrasseur 



Only ever negotiate over email, or at least corroborate negotiations that way. You need to be sure you’re getting everything in writing. 



And when doing that writing, please always be polite and respectful. As well, be excited about the opportunity. Also, never give an ultimatum. You’ve probably gotten this far because you want the job. Don’t 
shoot yourself in the foot now. “Thank you so much for the offer! I’m looking forward to joining the team!” 




I’ve said it once already, but it’s worth repeating: Make the negotiation a win-win. This means everyone should feel they’re getting good value at the end of the discussion. 



Along those lines, before starting the negotiation, know what you will NOT accept. And then don’t accept it, even if it means declining the offer. Of course, if you need any money at all just so you can keep 
your kids fed and a roof over your head, then you don’t get to pick & choose like this. But if you have the option, don’t accept an unfavorable offer. 





Negotiating: 
Questions & Discussion 




Organizing 



@vmbrasseur 



You’ve think, “Hey, negotiations! We’re done with the job hunt stuff!” But you’d be wrong. In fact, there’s one other very important subject which you won’t find discussed in any book: Organizing your job 
hunt. 



This is a chaotic enough process as it is. Why add to the chaos by be being disorganized? I mentioned before that being prepared leads to confidence and empowerment. Organization allows you to do that 
preparation with minimal stress. 




Do I Know youP 

@vmbrasseur 



When you get that call out of the blue, that recruiter who starts talking to you as though hers is the only job for which you’ve applied so naturally you must know what in the hell she’s on about, you’ll be very 
grateful for an organization system which allows for swift retrieval of data. 




There are a lot of things you should track for each position for which you apply. There are the obvious ones: Name of the position, name of the company, the date you applied, any URL for checking app 
status, name and contact information for your contact at the company. 



Then there are the less obvious ones. For instance: I recommend making a PDF printout of every job posting to which you apply. Those postings have a tendency to go AWOL from the web when you most 
need them, so it’s best to save them off while you can. 







As well, if you send customized cover letters and resumes, you should track specifically what you sent with your application. As well, if the company asks specific questions on their application you should 
track those questions and your answers to them so you can refer back to them during the interview process. 




& «AB* /WO6BS0M, AIL BISHT4 BSiEZveb ViViVi MVS&OOKS C^VA 




"I'm here about the details." 



@vmbrasseur 



And there’s also every single contact you have with the company. Every email. Every phone call. What’s said and when. 




That’s a lot to keep track of. Use whichever system makes the most sense for you. I personally recommend Trello. (live example) 




Resources 



@vmbrasseur 



OK, I want to save time for questions so let’s tie this off quickly with some resources where you can learn more. 



PRAGMATIC LIFf 







LAND thf. TECH JOB 

YOU LOVE 




Andy Lester 



©vmbrasseur 



Landing the Tech Job You Love by Andy Lester. 



Hiring Geeks that Fit by Johanna Rothmans 




iiinc^H 

GEEKS 



THAT FIT 




by Johanna Rothman 



©vmbrasseur 




Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury 



The 

International 

Bestseller 




getting to 




negotiating an 
agreement without 
giving in 



ROGER FISHER & WILLIAM URY 

and for the revised editions Bruce Patton 



@vmbrasseur 



Ask The Headhunter 

the insider's edge on job search & hiring" 



http://corcodilos.com/blog/ 



@vmbrasseur 



Ask the Headhunter by Nick Corcodilos: http://corcodilos.com/bloq/ 



ASK A MANAGER 




V V 




htt p : //www. askamanager.org/ 



@vmbrasseur 



askamanaqer.org/ 



VM (aka Vicky) Brasseur 
@vmbrasseur 

fossetcon@vmbrasseur.com 



Me! 




My slides (with speaker notes) & this video will be up shortly on Internet Archive. 



Questions? 




@vmbrasseur